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Published May 16, 2019
After years of preparation, the Sesquicentennial Colorado River Exploring Expedition (SCREE) will embark next week on a 70-day rafting trip to commemorate the 150th anniversary of John Wesley Powell’s famous 1869 expedition.
The SCREE project, led by University of Wyoming geography Associate Professor Tom Minckley, is a collective group of artists, authors, conservationists and scholars who will engage with citizens along the Colorado River corridor to consider visions for the future of the region.
Minckley will be joined by UW faculty members from the Department of Visual Arts, Department of Geography and College of Law, as well as UW alumni. Powell’s initial three-month trip was the first investigation of long segments of the rivers and the first recorded European passage through the entirety of the Grand Canyon.
“John Wesley Powell’s story is legendary and, as an individual, he is inspiring,” Minckley says. “He provided a model for the systematic thinking of how resources in the West could be developed for people, particularly water. One hundred fifty years later, we live in a version of Powell’s vision. We still grapple with the same issues of natural resource development and people. The question is, ‘What do we want the next 150 years to look like?’”
During the journey, SCREE will host five in-person outreach events with keynote speakers and art exhibitions to provide a platform for local communities to engage in a discussion about the current and future state of the river. It begins with kickoff events in Green River from Wednesday, May 22, to the actual launch on the morning Friday, May 24. A full schedule of activities in Green River can be found here.
While traveling nearly 1,000 miles down the river, SCREE also will stop for events at Dinosaur National Monument June 4; in Moab, Utah, June 22-23; and in Page, Ariz., July 11. For a full list of stops and other 150th anniversary events along the river, click here.
As part of SCREE, an expanded art exhibition, titled “Contemporary Views of the Arid West: People, Places and Spaces,” is now on display in four museums along the route. It features a variety of work from numerous artists working with SCREE in an attempt to engage with the many issues concerning the greater Colorado River Basin. The concept of an expanded exhibition requires one to travel the length of the basin to experience the totality of the featured work.
Work from eight artists will be on display, including four associated with UW’s Department of Visual Arts. SCREE’s lead artist is Patrick Kikut, who is an associate lecturer in painting. More information can be found here.